Ranking the Top 10 Best Swing Bowlers of All Time

One of the most exciting sights to see in cricket is the art of swing bowling. The way a fast bowler, rather than just depending upon the speed of the ball, outsmarts the batsman by swinging the new ball and reversing the old one is a sight to behold for spectators.

A bowler bowls a swinging delivery to the batsman

Swing bowlers are great assets for the team and have the ability to destroy an opposing team’s opening batting lineup by swinging the new leather ball through the air. Not just this, they can even move the ball in the air after the shine is gone through an art called reverse swing. Also, by bowling with the right seam positions, they can unsettle the batter by causing late deviations off the pitch after the bounce. This skill is challenging to learn but highly rewarding. Some elite fast bowlers can influence the match by bowling in-swing or out-swing with the new ball, while others show their prowess with older balls, often around 30-35 overs, relying on their finesse and tactical acumen to manipulate the ball's surface and induce reverse swing.

There have been many players who have ruled the cricket pitch with their fast bowling skills, trembling pace and the ability to glide the ball in the air. In this article by ZAP, we will list down the best swing bowlers ever.

Best Swing Bowlers of all time:

Wasim Akram - The Sultan of Swing:

Wasim Akram does his bowling action before bowling a reverse swing delivery

Credit: Hindutsan Times

Wasim Akram is arguably the most gifted fast bowler in cricket history. After being discovered at a cricketing camp by Pakistani batting legend Javed Miandad in Lahore, Akram burst into international cricket with relatively little first-class experience. He amassed 502 wickets in 356 ODIs and 414 wickets in 104 Tests. Akram had all attributed that made him unplayable on the pitch; he was tall, could generate bounce of any pitch, had excellent control over his line and length, and most significantly, he could swing the bowl in either direction. The left armer also had the ability to reverse swing the ball and the yorkers he bowled with those were lethal. In his peak, he was one of the hardest bowlers to play and became known as the the "Sultan of Swing".

James Anderson - GOAT of Fast Bowling:

James Anderson does his bowling action before bowling a swing delivery

Credit: Sporting News

At forty years old, James Anderson is still playing test cricket at the top level and holds the record for most wickets taken by an England bowler. One of the greatest bowlers in cricket history, Anderson can move the ball in both directions and has dominated every batting lineup with the red leather ball in his hand. His stock delivery is not outswinger, but his reverse fast bowling variation is utterly indifferentiable because he has perfected his bowling action and release over the years. He has amassed the most wickets of any fast bowler in Test cricket and will undoubtedly add many more to the tally before he retires from international cricket.

Dale Steyn - The Fiercest Fast Bowler:

Dale Steyn does his bowling action before bowling a swinging delivery

Credit: The Cricketer

Steyn is regarded as one of the greatest swing bowlers in cricket history. An exceptionally talented man with excellent fast bowling techniques, he could make the ball move as per his choice. If Steyn's fitness had not been a problem and his career had not been filled with cricket injuries, he could have accomplished what no pacer had ever achieved in the sport. 

Waqar Younis - The Lethal Yorker:

Waqar Younis takes a jump before doing his bowling action and bowling a swinging delivery

Credit: Sportskeeda

Maybe the best combination of qualities needed for a reverse swing were possessed by Waqar Younis, one of Pakistan's greatest! With a slingshot round-arm action, he bowled at a pace of over 145 kmph and was virtually unplayable as soon as the ball began to reverse. His trademark ball was a toecrushing yorker that swung in at over 150 kmph. His partnership with Wasim Akram made for one of the most fearsome bowling duos the world had ever seen.

Glenn McGrath - One of the Best Fast Bowlers Ever:

Glenn Mcgrath takes a jump before doing his bowling action and bowling a swinging delivery

Credit: Caught at Point

Glenn McGrath was arguably the best fast bowler for the Australian Cricket Team of all time and his best attribute was his ability to bowl ball in the same spot consistently. He compensated for his lack of speed with lethal precision, line, and length. McGrath was praised for his exceptional wrist position, which allowed him to swing the ball in any direction. He would take advantage by bowling accurately at the "corridor of uncertainty" moving the bowl just enough to create an outside edge.

Zaheer Khan - Best swing bowler from India:

Zaheer Khan takes a does before doing his bowling action and bowling a swinging delivery

Credit: Rediff

Zaheer Khan was one of the greatest swing bowlers of the Indian Cricket Team. He was a superb fast bowler with the ability to move the ball both ways as well as bowl reverse. He accomplished all of this on flat, subcontinental pitches that were favourable to spinners and hardly ever assisted fast bowlers. This made him extraordinarily important for the Indian Bowling attack.

Stuart Broad - The Menacing Accuracy:

Stuart Broad bowls a swinging delivery

Credit: InsidetheGames

Stuart Broad has been a crucial part of the England cricket team since 2008, possessing special fast bowling skills that have contributed to his success as a bowler for England over the years. His tall height allows him to generate significant bounce on hard pitches, and his pace enables him to bowl aggressively when the situation demands it. Nonetheless, it's his skill in swinging the ball, particularly in English conditions, that has accounted for the majority of his wickets. When he finds his rhythm and delivers the ball with precision under favourable circumstances, he is capable of delivering game-changing performances.

Shane Bond - The Master of Pace and Swing:

Shane Bond bowling a swinging delivery

Credit: ESPNcricinfo

Shane Bond served as an example for other fast bowlers, with his ability to curl the leather mid air at his peak. When bowling conditions were favourable, Shane Bond was an incredible force to be reckoned with. He had a natural in swing to his deliveries which could come in quickly and trouble any batsman.  When you combine it with his raw, natural pace, you get a bowler that would be a complete nightmare for any batter to deal with.

Allan Donald - The White Lightning:

Allan Donald bowls a delivery

Credit: ESPNCricinfo

Allan Donald (Nicknamed ‘The White Lightning’) will always be remembered for the fierceness and intensity he brought to the pitch. The intensity with which he bowled his swingers and yorkers, struck fear into the hearts of batsmen. Having taken 330 wickets in 72 test matches, his mastery of swing bowling was a pivotal weapon in his relentless assault against opposing teams. With his sheer pace and exceptional ability to generate substantial and precise swing, Donald claimed a multitude of victims for the Proteas. 

Bhuvaneshwar Kumar - The Prince of Swing:

Bhuvaneshwar Kumar does his bowling action and bowls a swinging delivery

Credit: Sportscafe

Even though Bhuvi bowled at a moderate medium pace, he is incredibly skilled and able to produce a tremendous movement in both ways in nearly any conditions. What makes him so exceptional is his ability to swirl the ball both ways with minimal noticeable changes in action. Because of his skill and consistency with line and length, he never required extreme pace to take wickets in his career. 


What is swing bowling?

Swing bowling is a type of fast bowling where bowlers aims to make the ball deviate from its normal path in the air, making it difficult for the batsman to predict and hit. They do this by releasing the ball in such a way that there’s differential pressure around the seam, causing it to swing in the air either towards or away from the batsman.

Who are some of the best swing bowlers in the world?

There have been many great swing bowlers throughout the history of cricket. Some of the most famous include Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Dale Steyn, James Anderson, and Glenn McGrath.

What are the different types of swing bowling?

There are two main types of swing bowling: conventional and reverse. Conventional is caused by the bowler's seam position and the way the ball is released, while reverse is caused by the wear and tear on the ball.

Who is known as the Sultan of Swing in Cricket?

Wasim Akram from Pakistan is known as the Sultan of Swing in Cricket.


Now that you've known about some of the best swing bowlers of all time, here are some more legends and skills you should read about and take you game to the next level.

Sachin Tendulkar | Virat Kohli | Shane Warne | Spin Bowling Techniques | Spin Bowling Variations

1 comment

  • zaaviar

    md asif is legend and he is best swing fast bowler…

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